Tag Archives: steampunk

Genres of Literature – Short Stories


The definition of a short story is a piece of prose fiction that can be read in one sitting. Short stories originally emerged from traditional oral storytelling in the 17th century. In terms of word count they are usually under 7,500 words, however this word count can vary. Due to the diversity of short story content it is not easy to characterize them, they may differ between genres, countries, eras, and commentators. They feature a small cast of characters and focus on a self-contained incident using plot, resonance, literary techniques or other dynamic components but not in as much depth as a novel.

Short stories are considered, by many, as an apprenticeship form preceding more lengthy works, however they are a crafted form in their own right. Short story writers usually publish their narratives within a collection as part of an artistic or personal expression form.

This concentrated form of narrative can be theorized through traditional elements, such as exposition, complication, crisis, climax and resolution although not all follow this pattern. For instance, modern short stories start in the middle of the action and do not include exposition. Slightly longer works do include climax, crisis or a turning point but many do end abruptly or are left ‘open’ and can or cannot have a moral or practical lesson.

Have you written short stories? Is that how you started writing?

Do you find the short prose form enables you to ‘refresh’ your Muse when immerse in larger works?

I have a steampunk story (7700 words) that I am hoping to find a venue for, whether in an anthology or some other publication. So if you have a lead please share it.

My publisher has a couple of awesome short story authors published. Karen Probert and Barbie-Jo Smith. Karen’s characterizations and attention to detail is incredible and Barbie-Jo has the most humorous tales. http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/catalog/books


Genres of Literature – Science Fiction


Science Fiction is a story based on the impact of potential science, either actual or imagined. It is one of the genres of literature that is set in the future or on other planets. The title is often shortened to SF or sci-fi. This genre typically deals with imaginative concepts, such as futuristic science and technology, space and time travel, even faster than light travel but also parallel universes and extraterrestrial life. The narrative can explore the potential consequences of scientific and innovation ideas developed to extremes.

Science fiction elements can include:

  • A temporal setting in the future with alternative timelines or in a historical past that contradicts the known facts of actual history
  • A spatial setting or scenes in outer space, on other worlds or even subterranean earth.
  • Characters do included aliens, mutants, robots and other imagined or predicted beings.
  • Technology can be futuristic or plausible. Examples being teleportation, mind control, ray guns and super-intelligent computers.    
  • Scientific principles that contradict accepted physical laws, such as time travel.
  • New and different political or social systems. 
  • Imagined future history of humans on earth or other planets.
  • Characters with paranormal abilities, such as telekinesis or telepathy.  
  • Other universes or dimensions and travel between them.

Sub-genres include:

Space opera, which is an adventure science fiction set mainly or entirely in outer space or on sometimes distant planets.

Utopian fiction, which portrays a setting that agrees with an ethos believed by the author of another reality.

Dystopia fiction, a portrayal opposed by the authors ethos.


Time Travel fiction where by utilizing a vehicle of some kind an operator can select a time period and purposefully travel there.

Military science fiction, where there is a conflict between national, interplanetary or interstellar armed forces.

Superhuman stories reflect the emergence of humans with abilities beyond the norm.

Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic 

Apocalyptic fiction covers the end of civilization through war, while post-apocalyptic deals with the near aftermath of such a war. 

Steampunk and dieselpunk, this genres are based on a futuristic technology existing in the past (usually the 19th century) and often set in the English Victorian era. They do contain prominent elements of science fiction through the use of fictional technological inventions.

Cyberpunk and biopunk. This is a reasonably ‘new’ genre emerging in the early 1980’s. It combines cybernetics and punk with a time frame usually in the near-future with dystopian settings. 

Have you written a science fiction story/novel? Care to share?

I have a YA novella, Clickety Click that deals with aliens living in secret on Earth. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/679515  https://www.amazon.ca/Clickety-Click-Mandy-Eve-Barnett/dp/1927510856

Clickety Click

And my latest YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria is set on another planet. Launch early 2018.

I also have a steampunk inspired, The Toymaker (7K words) that may become a novella in the future. Time will tell. 

Do you try writing in different genres? What has been your experience?


Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…



Since my mini writing retreat last weekend, I have not had any time to immerse myself in the revisions for The Twesome Loop, until last night. I took advantage of a couple of hours of peace & quiet in the library prior to my writing meeting. Word count increased by 892 and a couple of scenes were ‘fleshed out’ (actually erotic scenes so literally – pardon the pun!)

Twesome Loop 002

I have a meeting with my client whose book I am ghost writing this evening as I requested ‘personal experience’ pieces from her on several topics within the book. These I will include thus ensuring it is her voice.

My book cover proof is still pending for The Rython Kingdom so I have to be patient – although having the new cover available for my readers is paramount. So excited for it to go ‘live’ on the various websites.


Through a facebook page I found a submissions requirement where I can send my steampunk story – The Toymaker. Fingers crossed it gets accepted, it’s only 7790 words.


I am thoroughly enjoying this book – The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney – sister’s growing up, finding themselves, drama, love, rejection and a mystery. Set in Tasmania and Ireland it becomes international as each sister flies the coop in search of her path.


My TBR pile includes a book I found in a lovely bookstore while on my weekend escape. The Other Life by Ellen Meister This is the blurb:

If you could return to the road not taken…would you?

Quinn Braverman has a perfect life, with a loving husband, an adorable son, and another baby on the way.

Quinn also has an ominous secret: she knows that another version of her life exists…one in which she made totally different life choices. But she’s never been tempted to switch lives-until a shocking turn of events pushes her to cross over, and she discovers the one person she thought she’d lost forever: Her mother.

But Quinn can’t have both lives. Soon, she must decide which she really wants-the one she has…or the other life…

The Other Life

Doesn’t it sound fascinating? Of course as I love reincarnation, spirits, afterlife and parallel universes it is just up my street, so to speak.

If you have a recommendation for this kind of story, please let me know.

Writing Tips:

Stop procrastinating. Turn off the TV, disconnect from the Internet, tune out the rest of the world, sit down, and write.

Create a space in your home especially for writing.

Why not share your writing space? Here’s mine:

new writing desk

The opposite wall is my inspirational wall.Inspire wall

Happy writing.



CORVIDAE BLOG TOUR – Rhonda Parrish…

As part of a blog tour, I am interviewing the authors and the editor/anthologist involved in the project anthology, Corvidae. Published through World Weaver Press. This will post as I am on vacation….Today I launch with the Pulbisher: Rhonda Parrish.


A flock of shiny stories!

Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.

In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.


See additional document in the PRESS KIT folder.


Edited by Rhonda Parrish

“Introduction” by Rhonda Parrish

“A Murder of Crows” by Jane Yolen

“Whistles and Trills” by Kat Otis

“The Valravn” by Megan Fennell

“A Mischief of Seven” by Leslie Van Zwol

“Visiting Hours” by Michael S. Pack

“The Rookery of Sainte-Mère-Église” by Tim Deal

“The Cruelest Team Will Win” by Mike Allen

“What Is Owed” by C.S.E. Cooney

“Raven No More” by Adria Laycraft

“The Tell-Tale Heart of Existence” by Michael M. Rader

“Sanctuary” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

“Knife Collection, Blood Museum, Birds (Scarecrow Remix)” by Sara Puls

“Flying the Coop” by M.L.D. Curelas

“Postcards from the Abyss” by Jane Yolen

“Bazyli Conjures a Blackbird” by Mark Rapacz

“Seven for a Secret” by Megan Engelhardt

“Flight” by Angela Slatter



Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries


Trade Paperback:

ISBN-13: 978-0692430217

ISBN-10: 0692430210

Official page:


Rhonda parrish

Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for nearly eight years now (which is like forever in internet time) and is the editor of several anthologies including Fae and B is for Broken. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been in dozens of publications like Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012) and Mythic Delirium. Her website, updated weekly, is at rhondaparrish.com.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Sharing stories. I really like creating characters and scenarios and worlds and then sharing them with other people. It’s even better when the people I’m sharing with enjoy the story as much as I did and tell me so–I am not without an ego LOL

What do you enjoy most about editing?

I love coming up with a theme and then seeing all the amazing ways writers explore that theme. They always, always, always come up with things I never would have ever dreamed of. I also really enjoy working with writers to help make their amazing stories even stronger. It’s incredibly fulfilling to have someone trust you with their work and walk away feeling as though you not only justified that trust, but helped them make the story better. I will never get tired of that.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Um. No. I don’t think so.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished At the Water’s Edge: A Novel by Sara Gruen which was well-written and kept me up late turning the pages, and began reading The Toyminator by Robert Rankin. The Toyminator is the sequel to The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse which I really liked so I have high expectations for it J

Do you see writing as a career? 

Absolutely. Writing and editing both, actually. Happily for me they work very well together and each feeds the other. What I mean is being an editor has definitely improved my writing, and being a writer has helped me as an editor. Win/win. If only I could turn off my inner editor while I’m writing first drafts…

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

Mostly I drink, and not what you’re thinking either LOL While I’m happy to indulge in an alcoholic drink or three sometimes in the evening I never drink alcohol when I’m writing. I don’t have a moral objection to it or anything, mostly the timelines don’t line up. Alcohol is an ‘in the evening’ thing and writing is a ‘during the day’ thing. However, when I’m writing there’s usually a Diet Dr. Pepper within reach or, if my focus has been especially lacking, sometimes a Red Bull.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Probably right here… though hopefully with a few more titles on my ego shelf LOL I don’t know if I’ll still be editing Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries anthology series ten years from now (though you never know LOL) but I’d definitely still like to be both writing and editing. Bonus marks for myself if I’ve got a couple/few novels out as well J

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

The first draft. Seriously. Oftentimes I get so twisted up in my own head that I become paralyzed and don’t write anything. It’s a serious problem. I’ve found tools for working around it and my strategy is basically ‘Do whatever you need to to get the words on the page’ but still… first drafts kick my butt every time.

What is your favorite book?

My favourite books (this week) are The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman but there are so many beautifully-written books and stories out there.

Why an anthology about corvids?

I’ve always loved corvids, their intelligence, beauty, playfulness… Once upon a time I wanted to write a single author collection of corvid stories but as time went on and I realised how many other people shared my love of all things corvidae I thought it would be even cooler to make an anthology.

Why scarecrows?

Scarecrows go with corvids like butter goes with popcorn. How could I not have a companion anthology to go with the corvidae? Besides, I’ve got a great deal of love for scarecrows–they hit exactly the right spot on the uncanny spectrum for me.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My next title in this anthology series is going to be Sirens (opening to submissions August 15th). Like the other anthologies in this series it will be speculative fiction, probably leaning closer to fantasy than science fiction given the subject matter, but you never know…

CORVIDAE, praise

“Smart and dark like the corvids themselves, this excellent collection of stories and poems will bring you a murder of chills, a tiding of intrigue, a band of the fantastic, and—most of all—an unkindness of sleepy mornings after you’ve stayed up too late reading it!”

— Karen Dudley, author of Kraken Bake

“Magic and corvids collide in this certain to intrigue anthology.”

— Joshua Klein, hacker and inventor of the crow vending machine

“A creepy, crazy kaleidoscope of corvids, Corvidae is what happens when you bring together ingenious writers and sagacious subjects. It’s nothing short of a thrill ride when this anthology takes flight.”

— Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D., Utah State University; behaviorworks.org.

“As sparkling and varied as a corvid’s hoard of treasures, Corvidae is by turns playful and somber, menacing and mischievous. From fairy tale to steampunk adventure, from field of war to scene of crime, these magical birds will take you to places beyond your wildest imaginings.”

— Jennifer Crow, poet and corvid-by-marriage

Corvidae evokes the majesty and mischief of corvid mythologies worldwide—and beyond our world—in a collection that is fresh and thoroughly enjoyable.”

— Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger


“Delightfully refreshing! I should have known that editor Parrish (who also edits the cutting edge horror zine, Niteblade) would want to offer something quite unique. I found it difficult to stop reading as one story ended and another began – all fantastic work by gifted writers. Not for the faint of heart, by any means.”

— Marge Simon, multiple Bram Stoker® winner

“Stories of magical beings and the humans they encounter will enthrall and enlighten the reader about both the mundane and the otherworldly. I devoured it.”

— Kate Wolford, editor of Beyond the Glass Slipper, editor and publisher of Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine

“Seventeen tales… range in feel from horror to upbeat tales about homes where things go right, and are set everywhere from the modern day to mythical fantasy pasts. The best of these stories evoke things from real life – loves and values – and show characters making hard choices that reveal who they are and what they’re made of.”

— Tangent

“There’s no Disney-esque flutter and glitter to be found here — but there are chills and thrills aplenty.”

— Mike Allen, author of Unseaming and editor of Clockwork Phoenix

Authors to look out for are:

Laura VanArendonk, Angela Slatter, Mark Rapacz, Michael M. Rader, Sara Puls, Kat Otis, Adria Laycraft, L.D. Curelas, Megan Engelhardt, Tim Deal, C.S.E. Cooney, Mike Allen, Michael S. Pack, Jane Yolen, Megan Fennell, Leslie Van Zwol, Scott Burtness, Kristina Wojtaszek.

An Interview with Craig Boyack…


What inspired you to write your first book?

I started writing in the 1980s, but gave it up for family and fun. Then I got bored one winter, at 48 years of age, plus I had technology that surpassed anything in the 1980s. This one is a trunk novel today. It was a western steampunk story with ice age mammals running around.

My newest book is called Will O’ the Wisp. It’s the story of a teenage girl coming face to face with an ancient family curse.


How did you come up with the title?

Will O’ the Wisp is a natural phenomenon, that has become a cryptid. It is a mysterious floating light. People all over the world made up legends about them, so I did too.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

My first two novels are trunk novels that nobody will ever see. I have five books available on Amazon.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I can firmly answer no. I read to escape, and believe there are others out there like me. My stories are pure entertainment.

How much of the book is realistic?

The story takes place in the 1970s, and I went to great lengths to make sure it was an accurate reflection. (Anyone remember Quisp cereal, Montgomery Wards, International Harvester?) my main character, Patty, is fifteen. She has a love/hate relationship with her mother. She also has to face a few teenage coming of age moments. That part is realistic.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

They are not. I created the characters and tried to really get into them.


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I’m sure every author would. I believe there is a time to stop picking at it and set it free. I’m very happy with this story, and the reviewers appear to be too.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

This story is suitable for young adults. Not all of my tales are, but your own teenagers can enjoy this one too.


What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

I’m really happy with the climax in this one. It stitched together some supernatural elements with a coming of age moment and a big dose of fear. It just worked out really well.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

I write speculative fiction, and don’t limit myself to one corner. My stories are science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. Will O’ the Wisp is a paranormal story.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

We never really think about it, but if a topic doesn’t interest me I won’t force a story. There are too many things that do interest me to worry about it.

Wild Concept

What book are you reading now?

As I type this, I’m between books. I have Beginning of a Hero, by Charles Yallowitz up next on my iPad. I may start it by the time this posts. I just finished Maplecroft by Cheri Priest.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Yes, and I’m loathe to name names. If I forget someone, I’ll hurt someone’s feelings. These are all indie authors, and I’m really cheering for them.

Do you see writing as a career?

In some kind of dream world, sure. The realities of the 21st Century are that I have a full time job. An FTJ with paid vacation, insurance, and retirement.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully, continuing to do the things I love. At 64 I expect to still be working, and putting out books.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

There is a huge learning curve here. I learn and adapt, just like anyone else. It’s part of what appeals to me about writing. Perfection cannot be attained, only improvement.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

No. I like everything I’ve ever written. I’m a better writer today than I once was, but I still like my characters and stories.

What book do you wish you had written?

Jurassic Park.

What is your best marketing tip?

I wish I had one. Marketing is just so foreign to me. I think the best thing I can do is to write my next book. There is stability in volume, provided the product is good.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My next book is another paranormal piece with science fiction spicing. It’s about social media gone horribly wrong.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I released Will O’ the Wisp yesterday, (as I’m typing this out). I’d rather focus on that. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written so far. I’d really appreciate it if your readers would check it out.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

Follow my blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

Check out my novels here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Virgilante

On Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Will O’ the Wisp can be found at these sites:

Northern American Continent http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS

Rest of the world http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

Thank you for the invitation, Mandy. It was a pleasure answering your questions. I’ll make sure to surf back through and participate in the comments.